Australian Labor party will continue in office: political expert

17:39, September 06, 2010      

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Combination picture shows Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (L) and federal opposition leader Tony Abbott as they cast their votes in Australia August 21, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters, File Photo)

Australia's Aug. 21 general election has resulted a first hung parliament in 70 years. Two weeks after the election, the two main parties are still negotiating with the independents to form a minority government.

Up to now, newly elected Greens' Member of Parliament (MP) Adam Bandy, and independent MP Andrew Wilkie has declared support to the Labor party providing Prime Minister Julia Gillard with 74 seats in the 150-member lower house of parliament. A total of at least 76 seats is needed for either party to form a government on their own.

The opposition coalition has 73 seats, but it could still win the race to form a government if the three remaining independents line up behind its leader, Tony Abbott.

The three independents are widely expected to announce their decision on Tuesday morning.

"If I was pushed I'd say that the government will continue that is (Labor leader) Julia Gillard will continue in office," Professor John Warhurst, from the school of Political Science and International Relations at the Australian National University, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

"It's very very evenly balanced at the moment but from what we know of the private discussions that have become public, and the public comment by the independents that perhaps a 50/50 balance is shifting slightly in favor of the Labor party continuing in office at the moment."

Professor Warhurst said there are a number of reasons leading the ruling Labor party to lose seats in this election.

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